Women who get breast augmentation can begin exercise after a week with no risks or consequences according to a new study. The findings were reported in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Journal. According to Filipe V. Basile, MD, and Thais S. Oliveira, MD, plastic surgeons in private practice in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, the findings cast doubt on some plastic surgeons’ advice to avoid exercise for several weeks after breast augmentation. “These findings are consistent with a broader tendency recently observed in other surgical domains, in which early exercise has been found to be safe without raising complication rates,” they said. Patients should wait a few months after breast augmentation surgery, according to plastic doctors, with suggestions ranging from a few weeks to a few months. “This recommendation is based on the idea that activity could raise the complication risk, impair scar quality, and compromise surgical results.” Drs. Basile and Oliveira developed a study in which patients following breast augmentation were randomly assigned to early exercise vs standard restrictions in order to provide evidence to guide these practices.
Women in the exercise group began a supervised exercise programme, either aerobic activity or strength training, three times weekly for 12 weeks, one week after their operation. Patients in the control group were told not to exercise for 12 weeks following surgery. Complication rates and scar quality were evaluated between groups after a one-year follow-up. The validated BREAST-Q questionnaire was also used to patient satisfaction with their breast augmentation results. The findings backed up the safety of early exercise. The overall complication rate in the exercise groups was 6.9%, while it was 7.5 percent in the non-exercise group. During the 12-month follow-up period, none of the patients required revision surgery due to mild complications. The scar quality was also comparable across groups. Surprisingly, women allocated to early exercise had higher patient satisfaction levels.
The early exercise groups had an average satisfaction score of 83 on the 100-point BREAST-Q, compared to 66 in the non-exercise control group. Women who did aerobic exercise versus strength training had similar results. Surgeons who advise their patients to avoid physical exercise while recovering from surgery may find this puzzling. The findings, however, are consistent with prior studies demonstrating that early postoperative exercise is helpful and does not raise complication rates after a variety of surgeries, including heart surgery, according to Drs. Basile and Oliveira. “The better self-reported outcomes could be related to the influence that exercise has on mood and quality of life in general.” They believe this is especially true for women who choose to have breast augmentation since they are more interested in fitness. There is an apparent appeal for these group of individuals to be operated on and immediately return to exercising.